DJ, Presenter and television personality Becca Dudley has channelled her love of Reggae and Dancehall to a music platform designed to showcase talent across the industry. PAUSE Her sat down to hear all about it.
Interview by Sonia Akther.
Special thanks to Tracks and Records Restaurant
Could you tell us about Deadly Official?
Deadly is a music platform I created around 3 years ago that shines the light and celebrates Jamaican music and culture. We shoot videos, interviews, live sessions and documentaries. We shoot exciting new artists we think are going to be big and the big established artists at the same time. We create all of our content out in Jamaica and this year alone we shot 20 artists in 6 days. We kinda say to all the artists, “you choose a location and we’ll just show up and we’ll shoot wherever you feel comfortable”. So we were shooting in peoples houses, in their studios, at their chill spots; all over the place really. It’s just myself and my boyfriend Charlie who is also our Creative Director – and he films and edits and does all the creative stuff. And because it is just the two of us, we get amazing access to how you could say with a 10 man team. There is a lot of pressure when you are time sensitive, especially when there’s just Charlie setting up all the equipment… on one of the shoots we were meeting Jesse Royal and he didn’t really tell us where the set up was going to be and we got to his studio and it was a full band with 10 drummers and we’re there with our kit and 2 cameras and Charlie is just filming and it looks amazing because it is ad hoc and it really feels like you’re there with them.
Greats you admire?
The Legend that is Lee Scratch Perry. He is an old school producer who worked with the likes of Max Romeo and Bob Marley. Any footage from 60s and 70s reggae, you’ll find him in it because he produced most of it. I’ve been to a whole load of his gigs and I don’t know how it happened but I’ve sort of become his friend now. He may be in his 80’s but he’s still got his bright hair and fabulous clothes. I think I take a lot of fashion inspiration from him or we just dress the same without realising it! I’ve actually been backstage to one of his shows and we were in very similar outfits! He definitely expresses himself with his fashion. And sometimes you may think you won’t get a serious conversation from him but he is incredibly knowledgeable and I have been so lucky to be able to meet him and talk to him about the music we love. David Rodigan is also another one too. I have been such a huge fan since I first heard his stuff and I’ve been lucky enough to meet him too and he has become something of a mentor. I’ll send him radio shows and mixes and our Deadly videos and he watches and always comes back with great advice!
What would you like to achieve with Deadly?
Something that I noticed while growing up was a lot of my friends saying ‘”Oh, I don’t like reggae music” but then I’ll take them to a gig and they will completely change their minds. I think it’s about using my foot in the door of the commercial world and to use that to educate and spread the music as far as I can to new audiences.
What does Reggae mean to you?
It’s what I was brought up on, old school Jamaican music. My mum is Jamaican and I have a lot of Jamaican family and that was the culture we always had around us. I am also from a very musical family, everyone plays an instrument, my mum plays bass, my dad plays guitar, I play drums and we would all always jam together, it was kinda mad but fun!
How was it presenting the EMAs?
The EMAs are amazing! I co-host the Red Carpet with Sway, a legend of a presenter in the game so I feel so blessed to be working with him. It’s that time of year when everything feels very glamorous.
Have you ever been starstruck in an interview?
It’s weird because I don’t get nervous to meet the massive celebrities per se but I do get nervous when I meet an artist that I personally listen to all the time. So when I interviewed Damian Marley for Beats1 I remember being really nervous because I listen to him everyday and he is literally my favourite artist.. Distant Relatives with him and Nas is one of my favourite albums ever! I saw them live at Wembley Arena and that was my most memorable gig of all time and not only was it Nas and Damian Marley but the support was Erykah Badu and David Roddigan.. you can’t really top that! Yeah, so I was definitely nervous for Damian Marley and I was nervous when I met David Rodigan .. so it’s people in the industry that I look up to and respect and I really want to respect me therefore I’m nervous. I remember sitting opposite Kiera Knightly when I was super new and we were doing an interview and her belly rumbled so loud and she went bright red and was so embarrassed. It was one of those humanising moments when you realise we all get embarrassed.
A soundtrack to lift your spirits?
It changes often but the one right now would be Burnah Boy’s album ‘African Giant’; that must be my most listened to album of the year! It’s unreal because it fits every vibe. I put it on every morning when I wake up!
Undoubtedly, THE best album of the year, and along with Afro beats, dancehall inspired too..
I was literally having this conversation with David Rodigan and Chris Peckings and they were saying the exact same thing; everything we’re hearing at the moment is very dancehall influenced so it will be interesting to see where that will go. I think that’s one of the reasons we’re doing Deadly Official. We want to put the spotlight on all these great artists who are having such a huge influence on music today and eventually we’d like to branch out into the other genres which grew out of it like grime and jungle. So we’ve got lots of different avenues we’d like to explore and right now we’re focusing on the roots of it with reggae.
Follow DEADLY here.